“I look upon every day to be lost in which I do not make a new acquaintance.” –Samuel Johnson
Somewhere between friend and stranger are those people we call acquaintances. They might be friends of friends, or people who provide us a regular service (the postal carrier, the grocery clerk, the people at the dry cleaners), or even certain neighbors. We don’t have a strong disliking or liking for them. We know of these people. We just don’t KNOW them. Our relationship with them is “neutral.”
This week’s exercise is to choose one of your acquaintances and perform an act of kindness for her/him. We do this exercise as an acknowledgement of all the acquaintances we have, to recognize that they exist. In performing this act, we recognize that fundamentally our acquaintances want and deserve the same things we do, to be happy, to have good health, to be appreciated. In celebrating one acquaintance, we celebrate all of our acquaintances. In celebrating all of our acquaintances, we celebrate everyone.
It is very important that you consider your act mindfully, but it is NOT necessary that you get to know your chosen person well enough to personalize your act. Choose something that acknowledges your common humanity. If you prefer, perform your act anonymously. Your acquaintance need not know you are the one who completed the act. Do something that resonates from a warm place inside you, perhaps doing something for your acquaintance that you would like being done for you should the roles be reversed.
so, now that I’ve read it: Paul is someone at church who is the treasurer, plays the violin in the church orchestra, is very quiet and steady, and is nice, but not easy to get to know. So, although I like him, I think he is an acquaintance rather than a friend. I just hear Sarah Chang play the violin (The Goblin’s Dance) on the radio and was really struck…so much that I immediately ordered the CD from Amazon. It arrived really quickly and a couple of nights ago I spent part of the evening listening to it….as if I were in a concert…straight through, doing nothing else, totally listening. WOW what a treat! So, I loaned the disc to Paul for a week. It turns out he loves her and he seemed to be pleased with the pieces on the play list. So, that is my kindness to an acquaintance. (Also, if you can find somewhere to hear The Goblin’s Dance, you might be amazed too! J
Andy Smallman posted: “”I look upon every day to be lost in which I do not make a new acquaintance.” –Samuel Johnson Somewhere between friend and stranger are those people we call acquaintances. They might be friends of friends, or people who provide us a regular service (t”
I have done a kind act for my somwehat new water aerobics instructor. I had become disgruntled with the class because she continued to “TEACH” each move very thoroughly, even though I had been taking the class for six weeks, twice a week from her. Well, we had a big snow storm Monday and because so many of the women are older, they stayed home. Instead of 15 or more people, we had no more than seven. The class was excellent!!! She lead the class differently. She kept us moving so I did not get cold in the water and she did not take a long time to teach each movement. She named it and demonstrated it which really speeded up the class and made it a lot more fun.
At the end of the class I very enthusiasticly and honestly told her I thought this was “the best class” I had had with her since I had been coming. Indeed it was!! She thought it was because it was a small class. I told her why I thought it was the best which clearly showed her I had given it some thought. She was so appreciative.
We had about a ten minute converstion about the class, how it was taught, the differences with the class taught by the other teacher, plus talking about the people who take the class. Some have been coming for 7 years and know all the exercises by heart. Anyway, several times she thanked me profusely for my comments and input. The great thing for me was I had found a very easy way to both complement her, to release my negative thoughts, and to improve the chances that my experience in the future would be better. Whew! That was such a good experience for me!!!
Wow Linda, I really respect this one!! If there is one thing I struggle with , it’s addressing issues (even small ones) directly. I tend to just keep my mouth shut for fear of upsetting someone. So things don’t ever get resolved. I think what you did was wonderful! For her and for yourself.
It isn’t much, but I had a conversation with our receptionist that lasted a few moments longer than usual today. I had discovered that she attends the same college that I graduated from and we talked a bit about professors and classes. She is a naturally shy person and I am more outgoing, so we didn’t click right away, but it felt good to make a connection today. I will continue to reach out in that way in the future.
I love this one too!!! I did something similar today :-). There is someone that I have contact with through work, but our emails are generally fairly brief and relevant to the work issue concerned. Today though she happened to mention she was going to go for a run, and I took the opportunity to ask her about it, and get to know her a bit better. I am also a keen runner, and we found out that we had that in common. And we had also attended the same event, but in different states. It was a great way to become more friendly.
Serendipitously, I was given another opporunity to do a favor for an acquaintance/Facebook friend. We are both in the swim class which I am now in my second winter of taking. Sue called this morning to report she would not be in the class and thus could not give me a ride to the month end luncheon at a local restaurant. She was recovering from a very bad tenacious cold and yesterday when she was scheduled for an MRI for a back problem, she injured herself getting off the MRI table at the hospital.
She had been sick for almost ten days and now was injured. I knew that she loves fruit and eats a lot of it. During our converstion I asked if she was out of fruit. She said she had a couple oranges left, so I told her I would get her some and deliver them after the luncheon. We agreed that I should call first as she might be in bed. She was not and I brought her a bag with raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and a couple apples and grapefruit. She was so thankful because she was not up to driving ,and I knew that I would really be appreciative if someone helped me in such a way. Because my husband often has the car she frequently gives me a lift either to or back from the pool, so I felt really good being able to do her a favor.
I really enjoyed my act this week.
I love the teachers at my son’s school, and really appreciate the opportunities I have had to talk to them in the past.
Today I went to talk to one particular lady – Janine – who is my son’s learning enhancement teacher (due to his autism). I have a free day tomorrow with nothing planned, so I went to ask her if I could do anything at all to help her.
She was overjoyed! Herself and her aide have been snowed under with work lately, and jumped at the opportunity for some help.
I was so delighted that I could help that I have said I will do it every Friday.
These are so fun to hear about. I love the variety of ways we came up with to be kind to our acquaintances. It makes me think of other ways I might bring a smile to my children’s teachers, the school bus driver, etc. Chain reaction, indeed!
Speaking of which, yesterday I was trying to explain to my daughter why our thoughts and prayers matter and I used a similar approach. She has a very sick little cousin and we were talking about keeping him in our minds and hearts that day, as well as the doctors and his parents. After school, she called her aunt and told her she had been thinking and praying for them. It made my heart swell.
Thanks for sharing your stories.
What I love about the posts this week is the element of discovery. Judy and Paul both really like Sarah Chang’s music! “Working on Happy” and her receptionist went to the same college!
And Megan and her co-worker were both runners and ran the same event in different states!
How would we learn these things if we just said hi and conducted our business with the person instead of engaging them in a bit of conversation.
I also had a similar experience this week, again at the pool. There is a woman I talk to regularly while exercising and because of the problems caused by the snow, she shared that she was a piano teacher (and that created more problems because of the safety of her students). I told her about the importance of my children taking piano for many years – one still plays cello in an amateur orchestra and the other has a grand piano and plays daily.
Then I asked what her husband did. He also attends the class but is very quiet. Turns out he is not only an Astronomy professor but was very involved in a site with Native american solstize markers in southern Utah. So, the connection you might ask …??? My husband and I volunteered seven times at Chaco Culture National Historical park in New Mexico as volunteer astronomers!! Chaco has many very famous sun markers and we gave presentations that included information about those sun symbols. Small world?